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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries from April 1, 2009 - April 30, 2009


Spicy Zucchini and Chana Dal (gluten free, vegan, high protein)

Indian food brings me to my knees.  And a few days ago, I had a hankering for something warm and beany and full of cumin.  So I pulled out my big jar of dry chana dal, and put some in a bowl to soak.  As I gazed at the hopeful dry beans, I wondered what sort of Indian concoction I'd come up with the next day...

Chana dal, also known as Bengal gram dal, is a split bean that is very popular in India, very closely related to the chickpea, but more similar in appearance to a yellow split pea.  Chana dal is harvested when young, and is smaller and sweeter than the chickpea.  While it still requires soaking, it cooks down fairly quickly into something smooth and creamy, similar to moong dal,  split peas, or lentils.   Best, yet, chana dal  is high in fiber and iron, provides a whopping 10 g of protein per 1/4 c of dry beans, and is even recommended to people with diabetes as a healthy, low glycemic option!  

I decided to adapt a chana dal recipe from The Ayurvedic Cookbook, one of my favorite recipe books.  Not only is this book full of wonderful Indian recipes, it also provides very good information about ayurvedic philosphies and the healing properties of foods.  I love that the recipes use simple ingredients and techniques, but yield such complex flavors and textures.
The original recipe called for scallopini or summer squash; I had zucchini on hand and used that instead, changed the proportions of some of the ingredients, and left out what I can't eat (curry powder and green chili).    I served it up over some cooked buckwheat groats with salad of raw collards and sunflower sprouts on the side, and greedily at it for lunch.   Warmly spiced and very flavorful, this recipe is a hit.  I'll be freezing leftovers for later (bean dishes freeze very well!), but will have to make this sometime for friends - it makes a ton, and is super affordable to make, so it would be a cheap and easy dinner party option!

SPICY ZUCCHINI AND CHANA DAL (gluten free, vegan, high protein)
adapted from The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar and U. Desai

yield: 4-6 servings
1 c chana dal, soaked 
2 medium zucchini
6 c water
2 T sunflower oil
2 t mustard seeds
1 t turmeric
2 t cumin
2 t salt
2 T coriander powder
2 cloves garlic, minced
  1. Soak the chana dal in water overnight or for at least 8 hours.  Drain and discard the water, and rinse the chana dal.
  2. Place 6 cups of fresh water and the soaked chana dal in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Skim off foam, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook until chana dal is soft, and most of the water has been absorbed, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours, depending on your dal.  Remove from heat, and set aside.
  3. Wash and cut zucchini into 1" cubes.  
  4. In a deep skillet, heat oil, then add mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds pop, add the turmeric and zucchini, and stir.  Then add remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to avoid sticking.
  5. Add cooked chana dal, cover, and cook for 5-10 minutes more over low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
  6. Serve warm with grains, greens, or flatbreads.  Enjoy!



Goji Sunflower Mesquite Energy Bars...and variations! (gluten free, vegan)


I made these energy bars to feed to my friends and family that are helped me move this weekend.  As it turned out, I didn't end up feeding these snacks to them at all, and instead I still have a bunch in my fridge, which is okay, because I am really pleased with how they turned out!   They are chewy, not too sweet, and make a great little snack.   I really like them pulled out of the refrigerator, but they are also great room temperature.  The mesquite flour (my new favorite ingredient) adds a delicious sweet and spicy flavor that combines well with the tartness of the goji berries!  Plus, they are full of vitamin C - goji berries, mesquite flower, and vitamin C flour combine to provide a whole lot of immunity boosting nutrition.

Next time I think I will add more sunflower seeds for extra crunch, and a scoop or two of rice protein powder to increase the protein content and make these bars lower glycemic.  Using a crunchy crisped rice cereal would add some great texture. As I brainstormed on this recipe, I think there are lots of options for making variations, see some of my ideas below.  I plan on making lots of tweaks and variations of this recipe, so stay tuned...


yield: 16 approx. 1"x4" bars

3 c gluten free puffed or crisped cereal (I used puffed millet, feel free to try using puffed amaranth, puffed or crisped rice, any other puffed/crispy cereal, like Perky's Nutty Flax or Nutty Rice)
3 T chia seed
1/2 c sunflower seeds, toasted (or other seed/chopped nut)
3 T goji berries, lightly chopped (or other dried fruit)
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 c + 3 T brown rice syrup
1 T sunflower oil (or other oil)
3 T mesquite flour
optional, for extra vitamins!: 1/4 tsp vitamin C crystals 
  1. Place cereal in a large bowl.
  2. Warm brown rice syrup and sunflower oil together over low heat, whisking until mixed.  Remove from heat. NOTE: if using flax oil, warm brown rice syrup alone, remove from, then stir in flax oil.  Flax oil should never be directly heated.
  3. Quickly add mesquite flour, salt, vitamin C crystals, and any additional spices to warm syrup/oil mixture, and stir until well combined.  Work quickly, mixture coats cereal and other ingredients best when still warm.
  4. Pour warm mixture over cereal, and stir a few times to coat cereal.  Add goji berries, chia seeds, toasted and sunflower seeds in batches, and continue stirring until evenly mixed.
  5. Transfer cereal mixture into prepared 8x8 or 9x9 pan.  Spread evenly across surface of pan, then press mixture firmly until smooth and even.
  6. Place in refrigerator to chill, for 1-2 hours.  Slice into bars of desired size.  
  7. Wrap bars tightly or transfer to airtight container.  Stores best in the refrigerator.
Approximate nutritional information/bar (yield 16 bars): 100 cal, 3.5 g fat, 14 g carb, 8 g sugar, 1.5 g fiber, 2 g protein
 Don't eat nuts or seeds?  Can't eat fruit?  Require a higher protein bar?  Want to mix up the flavors?  Great!  Feel free to swap out ingredients to fit your tastes, desires, and restrictions. Here's a few ideas to get you going!  I'd love to hear how you make this recipe your own.
  • pumpkin seeds, currants, pumpkin seed oil, ginger
  • dates, shredded coconut, coconut oil
  • pecans, dried cranberries, cinnamon
  • almonds, dried blueberries
  • cashews, coconut, coconut oil
  • hemp seeds, hemp oil, dried apricots
  • flax seed, flax oil, dried apple, cinnamon
  • minced figs, orange zest, walnuts
  • omit mesquite flour, and add cashews, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and cardamom
  • Alternate your sweeteners, and use agave, honey, maple syrup or molasses as your body can tolerate.  NOTE: a runnier sweetener like maple syrup may require different quantities than a thicker one like brown rice syrup.
  • lower fat: omit oil, add additional 1 T of rice syrup
  • high fiber: add rice bran, and/or extra flax or chia.  Use ground flax for easiest assimilation.
  • lower carb/sugar: substitute additional nuts/seeds for a portion of dried cereal and either all or some of the dried fruit.  Omit or use less mesquite flour (5 g sugar/tablespoon). 
  • lower GI: follow suggestions for lower carb/sugar.  Substitute all or a portion of the brown rice syrup with agave nectar, which has a lower glycemic index.
  • higher protein: Add more nuts/seeds in place of fruit/cereal.  Add protein powder (rice, hemp, soy, etc) for all or some of the mesquite flour.  For added flavor, include additional spices like ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, or allspice.



36 Hour Mesquite Carob Chip Cookie & Homemade Carob Chips (gluten-free, egg-free)

This is an adaptation of  Gluten Free Girl Shauna James' adaptation of the infamous David Leite's 36-Hour Chocolate Chip cookies. Why 36 hour?  Because the dough needs to rest for at least 36 hours before baking!


I do have to point out that this recipe is a departure from my usual avoidance of starch, binders, and lots of sweetener.  Why?  Because I baked these for my birthday.  I shared these with friends with family. These were for a special occasion.  And I wanted a real cookie, damn it.  So I was willing to do what it takes to get that light, buttery, sweet, crispy on the outside chewy on the inside cookie of my dreams.  Even if that means using a bunch of starch, some guar gum, and more than my usual amount of sweetener.  The original recipe called for making HUGE monster cookies, and since I wanted a smaller portion size and wanted to share these with lots of friends, I opted for a more petite cookie.  But don't be fooled - this petite cookie is wonderfully satisfying.  I made a number of other alterations from Shauna's recipe.  Since I'm allergic to potato, and wanted a little extra spicy flavor, I substituted arrowroot starch and mesquite flour for potato starch.  Instead of eggs, I used gelatin as a substitute, which I'd never tried before and am really happy with.  Instead of butter, I used a mix of ghee and Spectrum shortening.  Agave nectar took the place of white and brown sugar, and I used about half as much sweetener as the original recipe called for overall.  And finally, instead of chocolate chips, I used my homemade carob chips, adapted from Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions".


Assembling these cookies took all night.  I melted together the coconut oil and carob powder for my carob chips, and while they chilled, ran to the co-op to get more arrowroot flour, since I needed it for the cookie dough and to make another batch of my homemade corn-free baking powder (equal parts cream of tartar, baking soda, and arrowroot).  Once I got back I spent time sifting all the flours, making my new batch of baking powder, and making my gelatin "eggs".  I creamed the butter and agave, mixed in my "eggs" and then lovingly and slowly sifted the flours into the butter agave mixture.  Finally, I chopped my cooled carob bar into chips, and gently stirred them in.  Lots of dirty bowls, spoons, and measuring cups later, I had a very promising looking dough.  It lovely light brown color, with a substantial, yet light, texture.  It smelled lovely; the fragrant nutty sweetness of ghee mixed with the chocolate-coffee-cinnamon smell of the mesquite flour was intoxicating.  I greedily licked the beaters. The flavor was caramelly and buttery, with the perfect mix of sweet and salty.  Wow.  It seemed impossible, but I had made cookie dough that would totally pass for "real" cookie dough.  I've always been a dough eater, and I had to practice serious restraint so as not to eat WAY to much dough...


Then, per the recipe, I covered the dough, and put it to rest in my fridge.  My dough rested for a whopping 48 hours. Apparently, allowing the dough to rest makes it flavor through, and creates a drier dough, leading to a better cookie.  Patience, darling, patience.  Good things come to those who wait.  

Finally the time came to bake, the eve of my birthday.  And so, bake I did.  I scooped out balls of dough onto the baking sheet, and hoped for the best.  Sadly, I lost my photos of the dough and my overall process, and somehow only ended up with the single photo I've included on this post.  You'll notice that the cookies spread out like real cookies - amazing!  They smelled like real cookies.  As the intoxicating aroma of fresh cookie filled every nook and cranny of my apartment, I realized that a smell like this hadn't come from my oven in quite some time.  I couldn't help but eat a warm one.  Yum.  Cooled, it was even better.  

Is this like the cookie you remember from your childhood?  No, probably not.  Because it isn't that cookie.  But it is darn good.  MY friends loved them.  My family loved them.  I loved them. They were soft, a little cakey, with crisp edges and a chewy center.   Sitting outside at the park, sharing a picnic blanket with my friends, I dipped my special cookies in a cold glass of rice milk and it was the best birthday ever.  At the end of the evening, my cookies were more popular than the all-natural, super tasty store-bought cookies I had also provided for unadventurous gluten eaters - my friends loved the rich nutty flavor from the ghee, the chunks of carob chips, and the the spicy cinnamon flavor of the mesquite flour.  I loved that they loved my cookies.  I had some leftover to share with my parents when they came up for the weekend, and they loved them too, which says a lot, because they are both quite discerning when it comes to cookies.  Try these out, I think you'll be happy!

36 Hour Mesquite Carob Chip Cookie

adapted from Gluten-Free Girl's adaptation of David Leite's chocolate chip cookie recipe
yield: approx 48 3 inch cookies
  • 1 cup sorghum flour
  • 1 cup amaranth flour
  • 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 3/4 cup arrowroot starch
  • 1/4 cup mesquite flour
  • 1 tablespoon guar gum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons corn-free baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 c ghee, room temperature
  • 1/4 c Spectrum shortening
  • 3/4 c agave nectar
  • 2 T gelatin + 2 T cold water + 4 T boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c carob chips (or chocolate chips) - see recipe below
  • sea salt
  1. Sift each of the four flours, individually, into a medium-sized bowl. Add the guar gum, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk vigorously to mix and introduce air and make light.  Set aside.
  2. Dissolve 2 T gelatin in 2 T of very cold water, and stir.  Add 4 T of boiling water, and stir until gelatin has dissolved.  Cool in freezer until room temperature and slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes.  Then whisk vigorously until light and frothy.
  3. While gelatin cools, put the soft butter and agave into a stand mixer and cream.  Mix well, until just combined.  After frothing your gelatin, immediately add half of it to the butter/agave mixture, mix, then add the other half. Pour in the vanilla extract and mix for a beat or two.
  4. Finishing the cookie dough. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter, about 1/2 cup at a time, and then mix. When the all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, gently fold in the carob chips.

  1. Cover the dough with plastic wrap, pressing plastic firmly on the surface of the dough. 
  2. Put it in the fridge, and let sit for at least 36 hours.  According to David's recipe, it can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.  
  1. Pull the dough from the refrigerator, and uncover it.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°. 
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat.

BAKE! >>> 
  1. Scoop onto baking sheet by the heaping tablespoon.  Sprinkle with sea salt.
  2. Bake the cookies about 11-13 minutes, or until slightly brown on the edges, but still soft in the middle.  These cookies are better slightly underbaked than overbaked, so don't let bake too long!
  3. Allow the baking sheet to sit on the counter for a few minutes. Then transfer cookies onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.  Will keep for 3-4 days if tightly covered; freeze leftovers or later!


Homemade Carob Chips

yield: about 2 c of chips


  • 1 1/4 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1 c carob flour
  • 2 T agave nectar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract/flavoring (gluten free)


Whisk all ingredients together until well mixed and smooth. Line a small pan with parchment, plastic wrap, or wax paper, and pour in oil mixture. Place in refrigerator to cool. Once solid, chop into chips of desired size, and store in jar in a cool place until ready to use.



Lost recipe: Indian Spiced Mung Bean Carrot Flatbread (gluten free, vegan, high protein)

I love bread.

You've probably gathered this already from the amount of baking I do.

I made up this bread after making my own roasted mung bean flour, and wanting to use it for something immediately!  The bummer?  Amidst moving to a new apartment, I seem to have lost the recipe.  Damn.  

Like many of you, I write recipes down as I go, scribbling on scrap paper, old envelopes, paid bills, and the inside of cardboard boxes.  I keep track of all these things pretty well.  But sometimes my recipe papers are mistaken for bits of wastepaper, and end up in the recycling this one.  

This bread was very tasty; it turned out a lot like cornbread, with a great moist texture, a nutty flavor, and a lovely crumb.  Plus, it looks pretty - it had a crackly top, a lovely golden color, and little flecks of orange from shredded carrot.  Using a mix of mung bean flour, quinoa flour, and brown rice flour, this is a high protein bread that should be fairly low on the glycemic index and is full of healthy fiber.  Flavored with cumin, coriander, and turmeric, this bread would be tasty spread with your favorite bean dips, nut or seed butters, or chutneys, or served along side soups and salads.  I'm eating leftovers that I had stashed in the freezer; leftover slices freeze and thaw very well, and it stays moist.  Let thaw at room temperature or defrost in microwave, then pop in a toaster oven so it gets crisp on the outside for an extra-special twist (my favorite!).

I kind of remember the basics, but don't want to guess.  So, I will attempt to recreate this delicious bread, make a few tweaks, and post the recipe as soon as I can!  Until then, the photos will have to suffice.  

Look at the golden, crackly top!  Beautiful.  If only I hadn't lost the darn piece of scrap paper I wrote the recipe on...


Moving, unpacking, settling!

 The past couple weeks have been a blur of packing boxes, cleaning, going through old boxes of stuff and keeping only what I truly needed.  Yes, that's right, I moved.  To a smaller, less expensive, more efficient apartment.   A team of amazing family and friends helped me move and settle in, and I'm loving my new apartment.  It is cozy, peaceful, and exactly what I hoped for.  I have set a healing intention for my home; it will be a place of growth, renewal, and serenity before I head off on my adventure to Portland next year for school.  

Plus, on the kitchen side of things, it has a full size refrigerator, dishwasher, a nice little gas stove, and recently replaced cabinets and a new countertop.  It is in marvelous condition. A dishwasher is a serious luxury, and while I won't use it all the time, it certainly will be convenient after large-scale kitchen experiments and dinner parties.     

I have many recipes I need to post - some very tasty Carob Chip Mesquite Cookies, a tasty Mung Bean Carrot Bread, and the cultured vegetable recipes I promised from so long ago, just to name a few.  Now that I am on break between school terms and I've finally moved, I can hopefully catch up on some of the recipes I've been wanting to post between unpacking boxes and bins.  So, stay tuned for more recipes and a peek at the charming place I now call home.